#8 ~ escaping the quarter life crisis

I know you’re reading this and I know you probably have questions. Please don’t be shy about commenting. I’ve had questions with several friends the last few days and we’ve discussed what’s been written. Some are lost, some are scratching the surface and some are starting to catch on. Please, please, please don’t be shy to say what you feel. Stay anonymous but stay involved. It’ll help me write more specifically and will help you get out of this exactly what you need.

It’s time start putting together some of these fragments thoughts and ideas.

We’ve talked about a few things so far… here’s a bit of a recap

  • There is a vast difference between understanding something and finding something meaningful
  • Each community has a particular language, history and set of actions which provides that community with a lens which they use to find meaning and understanding in other things
  • The meaningfulness of each community cannot be realized unless the individual is fully involved with the language and actions of that specific community
  • Being involved means rule-following. If an individual wants to “play in the game” then he/she must obey the rules of that community
There was one post that may have seemed out of place: #5 / falling 10 000 feet a second
I now want to tie that post with what I’ve been saying until now. In case you forgot, that post talked about grounding yourself in just one thing. Picking something, committing to it and giving yourself time to grow closer with it.The conversations I’ve been having with myself and with many of you is one of discontent. They are conversations of how we are feeling unimportant and insignificant, living a meaningless life. It’s a quarter life crisis.So many choices at our fingertips, but no commitment being made!

But now that we’re sitting down in the living room I feel comfortable asking the question

What is important for you?
Who is important to you?
Where do you look for significance?
Where do you look for meaning? 
These are the questions you want answered, but are you willing to commit to something? Are you willing to commit to someone? Are you willing to let go of some of your independence in order to become part of something bigger?
This is what it means to join a community.A community is a group of individuals sharing similarities. It could be their living location, their belief system, their yearly income, their fitness goals, their fashion choice… anything that unites them as one.By joining a community you give up a finite amount of your independence. As we talked about, joining a particular “game” means agreeing to follow the rules of that game. There are right and wrong choices you can make within that community.

In return, you gain an infinite amount of meaning and significance because you are a member of something bigger than yourself. As he said in Into the Wild, “Happiness is only real when shared .” I would go on and say that pain is meant to be shared, passion is meant to be shared, love is meant to be shared, suffering is meant to be shared, life is meant to be shared…

Through committing to a certain way of life I have found the most meaning. Through repetition I have found life to be most meaningful.

Categories: 25 cents, certainty

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3 Comments on “#8 ~ escaping the quarter life crisis”

  1. estolte
    August 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Maybe I’m going “too much, too fast” again, but above: “Through committing to a certain way of life I have found the most meaning.” What if that way of life is defined by malevolence (e.g. gangs, terrorist cells)? Surely there is a lot of meaning, but isn’t that meaning “notlife”?

    • August 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

      Eric, you’re not alone in this question. When discussing these thoughts in a seminar this was the question that came up the most.

      “Isn’t that meaning “notlife””.

      I can see you’re starting to understand what I’ve been saying: there is meaning in different forms of life/different communities that we can’t comprehend because we are not involved within them.

      But I can sense that you’re anxious to move on and discuss truth; absolute and universal truth.

      What I’m talking about has to do with meaning and if it has to do with truth then I’m more interested in the Kierkegaardian idea of subjective truth.

      I’m not going to talk about objective universal truth. I.E. the ruler by which we can measure all others.

      That is for a different discussion.

      All I’ll say about that big T truth is that it caused a lot of division the last 100 years. I don’t need to tell you about that. Religious people mostly, political people a bit, and artistic people the least, have been so confident about what is absolutely True. I’m feeling less confident that making absolute claims about Truth will actually benefit all the people in our world.

      My goal (if I have one) is to help us seek an understanding of the other through dialogue and healthy conversation. That means knowing what I’m grounded in/my uniqueness, seeking the uniqueness of the other person and trying to live together in the midst of our similarities and differences.

      I’m not saying I don’t believe that there is absolute truth, but I just don’t want to talk about it. I’d rather talk subjectively… to the subject… to the person…

      I hope that makes some sense.

      By the way, you’re the best!

  2. estolte
    August 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Thanks for your thoughts, Michael. A couple of things: you said, “But I can sense that you’re anxious to move on and discuss truth; absolute and universal truth.” Actually, I’m uncomfortable with the phrase “absolute truth” as it implies a certainty which, although a modern construct, I would find absent from the Scriptures. I think I would put myself close to a “Critical Realist” which I understand to mean, “The external world is real. Our knowledge of it is partial but can be true. Science is a map or model. It is made up of successive paradigms that bring us to closer approximations of reality and absolute truth.” And, my beliefs about truth are not necessarily seen through my description of cognitive propositions to which I adhere, but rather how I live my life (“Kierkegaardian idea of subjective truth”?).
    “All I’ll say about that big T truth is that it caused a lot of division the last 100 years.” – Totally! Which is why we need humility.
    “My goal (if I have one) is to help us seek an understanding of the other through dialogue and healthy conversation. That means knowing what I’m grounded in/my uniqueness, seeking the uniqueness of the other person and trying to live together in the midst of our similarities and differences.” Wonderful! The only caveat is that if the other’s uniqueness/meaning is “notlife” (destructive, harmful), then, from love, in addition to seeking “to live together in the midst of…” I would have a deep desire that the other comes to a place of experiencing a meaning, my meaning which, hopefully, although very imperfect, is interwoven with Jesus and leads to a path of “life” as opposed to “notlife”.
    Love this dialogue, Michael. Thanks for your patience with me! Truly appreciate the way in which you think.

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